Ex-ambassador to Mexico under Trump smacks him down over tariff debacle: He's 'flailing about'
President Donald Trump wears a "Make America Great Again" hat at a golf tournament held at one of his properties. (Image via Saul Loeb/AFP.)

On Friday, New York Time's Peter Baker warned that President Donald Trump's "all-out retaliation" against Mexico could be another failed attempt to get Mexico to bow down to his demands.


Trump announced that he would impose tariffs on Mexican goods if they do not stop the flow of immigration by June 10th. Baker noted that this was not Trump's first time demanding action from Mexico in an effort to see one of his central campaign promises come to pass.

"As he ratchets the pressure back up with threats of a tariff war, Mr. Trump once again finds himself grasping for ideas to deliver on his signature campaign promise: ending illegal immigration, no matter how incendiary or legally dubious. With an election year approaching, he appears increasingly anxious to get a handle on the problem and show results," Baker wrote.

Several of Trump's aides and Republicans have opposed the idea of imposing sharp tariffs on Mexico because of the negative impact it would have on the US economy.

"Time and again, the president has engaged in a game of geopolitical chicken with Mexico, warning darkly of radical measures that even his own advisers caution him against. His latest scheme would impose escalating tariffs on all imports from Mexico, a move that could blow up the economic relationship with one of America's closest neighbors. But there was no more guarantee that will be any more effective than his past efforts, or that he will even necessarily follow through with his threat," Baker wrote.

Roberta S. Jacobson, a former career diplomat who served as ambassador to Mexico for the first year under Trump, said that it was not a wise idea.

"This is yet another flailing about in an effort to effect a change he's failed to bring about," Jacobson said. "Every time he sees something like 'highest total in one week in X years,' he demands something, and his advisers come up with something even more extreme, and he goes for it."

Baker then explained that Trump tried this approach in the past, such as when he threatened to shut down the entire US-Mexico border.

"Some who have watched Mr. Trump's threat-and-retreat approach in the past speculated that he might not actually carry out his plan any more than he did when he vowed to shut the border this spring. He may seize on some concession by Mexico, however meaningful or not, and claim that the threat had the intended effect and therefore did not need to be enacted," he wrote.

Adding," Either way, one thing is clear. Nearly two and a half years into his presidency, Mr. Trump has grown enormously frustrated at his own administration's inability to stem the flow."

Read the full report here.